Photoshop: Restoring Old Photographs

Table of Contents

Restoring old photographs is easier than you think. Start by making a duplicate of your image.

  1. Choose Image > Duplicate from the menu. The Duplicate Image dialog box opens.
  2. Type the name you want to give to the copy of your photo.
  3. Click OK.

Then crop the image if you can do so without affecting the important parts of your picture. By cropping the image, you leave less to repair.

  1. Select the Crop tool.
  2. Click and drag to highlight the portion of the photograph you want to keep.
  • Click and drag the boxes on the top, bottom, right, and left to adjust the height and width of the highlighted area.
  • Click and drag the boxes on the corners of the highlighted area to adjust the size of the highlighted area proportionately.
  1. Choose Image > Crop from the menu.
You have eliminated the excess space surrounding your image. After cropping your image, change it to grayscale to take the yellow out.

You can quickly and easily remove cracks and scratches from you photographs using the Healing brush. Here is how:

  1. Select the Healing brush.
  2. Right-click.
  3. Set your brush options. Here are my suggestions:
  • Diameter: 6
  • Hardness: 100
  • Spacing 25
  • Angle 0
  • Roundness 100%
  1. Hold down the Alt key and click to define the source of your color. Then drag your cursor over the cracks and watch them disappear.

You may need to make several passes with your Healing brush. You should also be mindful of the length and direction of your strokes. Keep your strokes short and mimic the flow of the photograph. Figure 5.3 shows all of the corrections I was able to make to my photograph by using the Healing brush.

Figure 5.3 Healed

You can use the Dropper tool and the Brush tool to make detailed corrections to your image. You use the Dropper tool to select a color.

  1. Click the Dropper tool.
  2. Click the image in the area that has the color with which you want to paint.

After you have selected a color, you use the brush tool to paint the photograph.

  1. Zoom in on the area you want to paint.
  2. Select the Brush tool.
  3. Right-click.
  4. Set your brush diameter and hardness. Here are my suggestions for very detailed work:
    • Master Diameter: 1
    • Hardness: 100
  5. Very carefully paint in the missing areas. Change the color of your brush as needed.

If you cropped the border of your photograph or if your photograph did not have a border, you may wish to add a border after you have made all the corrections. To add a border:

  1. Choose Image > Canvas Size from the menu.
  2. Change the Width and Height measurements to pixels.
  3. Add 20 pixels to the Width.
  4. Add 20 pixels to the Height.
  5. Set your canvas extension color to white.
  6. Click OK.
  7. You have added a border to your photograph.
Figure 5.1 Original
Figure 5.2 Restored

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